SAXONS AND CELTS IN SOUTH-WEST BRITAIN* By C. L. WRENN, M.A. Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford and Fellow of Pembroke College I SOME CELTIC ELEMENTS IN ANGLO-SAXON CULTURE IN 1955 there was published in Dublin a book by Professor James Carney entitled Studies in Irish Literature and History, in which the third chapter has the challenging title "The Irish Elements in Beowulf". Though often highly speculative or eccentric, this is an important book. For it seeks to place mediaeval Irish literature in its proper European context in opposition to some nationalistic tendencies in contemporary Celtic scholarship, and suggests possibly valuable lines of study in the relationships of Irish and Anglo-Saxon culture hitherto neglected. In his chapter on Beowulf I came upon a passage that set me thinking. It is this :2 The subject of the relationship between Irish and Anglo-Saxon literature has hardly been touched, and I have no doubt that this will some day prove a fruitful field for research. The thesis of the present chapter (is) that there is a substratum of Irish thought in Anglo-Saxon literature. Looking further into Professor Carney's bold yet stimulating book, I decided that it might be interesting to make what explorations I could along a few casually selected paths into the whole question of Celtic strands in Anglo-Saxon culture. For while there has been general consciousness of the Irish influences which did so much to mould the earliest English Christianity in recent years, and of the Irish artistic contributions in such matters as illuminated manuscripts-and, indeed, in archaeology and palaeography Celtic aspects have received quite a lot of attention-there might well be other Celtic influences which had been ignored. This seemed a reasonable supposition in view of the fact that so far no-one who is at home alike in the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic fields has worked with concentration. Since South-West Britain happens to be the part of our island with which I am least unfamiliar, I chose this area for my explorations, and also because it is here that Brittonic as well as Goidelic influences were to be expected. But before entering on these local adventures, I have tried to prepare something of a The O'Donnell Lectures for 1958 in the University of Oxford. 1 Published by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. 2 Op. cit., pp. 112-13.